Tourism Glossary

Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (ATBC)

The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia is a non-profit, membership-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and co-operative marketing programs, ATBC is a one-stop resource for First Nations entrepreneurs and communities in British Columbia who are operating or looking to start a tourism business. ATBC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help British Columbia’s Aboriginal tourism businesses offer quality experiences and actively promotes these experiences to visitors and local residents.

Adventure Tourism

Outdoor activities that present the participant with risk and challenge. Adventure tourism is divided into two types: hard adventure and soft adventure.

Air Capacity

A limited number of airplane seats to which a special fare has been assigned. This percentage may change depending upon how quickly seats are selling on the flight.

Capacity also refers to the ability of an airport to handle a given volume or magnitude of traffic (demand) within a specified time period. There are four distinct elements in a capacity analysis: airspace, airfield, terminal, and ground access.

Approved Destination Status (ADS)

Approved Destination Status (ADS) is a bilateral tourism arrangement between the Chinese Government and a foreign destination. Countries with ADS status are permitted by China to host Chinese tourists undertaking leisure travel in groups.

Average Daily Rate (ADR)

Statistical unit used to measure a hotel's pricing scale. Figure derived by dividing actual daily revenue by the total number of available rooms.

Bed and Breakfast (B&B)

Accommodation that is generally family owned and managed, accommodates three to ten groups per night, and includes a family-style breakfast.

Bilateral Agreement

In transportation, an agreement between two countries that often deals with the number of flights permitted from each country into a specific airport, which includes the size and capacity of the airplanes, and special fares.

Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)

Canada’s national tourism marketing organization. Its vision is to compel the world to explore Canada. Along with partners in the tourism industry and all levels of government, it advertises and markets Canada in nine countries around the world, conducts industry research and studies, and promotes product and industry development.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast (CCC)

One of the six tourism regions designated by Destination British Columbia, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast stretches from the wildness of the Pacific Coast to the rolling Cariboo Mountains, with forests, hidden lakes, craggy peaks and golden plains set in between. This is a region with a past rich in the spirit of adventure, a land settled by entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts, artists and explorers.

Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)

Sometimes referred to as Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), CVB’s are umbrella organizations that represent a city or urban area in the solicitation and servicing of all types of travellers to that city or area whether they visit for business, pleasure or both.

Cruise revenue passengers

Paying passengers embarking or disembarking from a single port.

Customs Entries

International visitor entries at a designated land, sea, or air border. In British Columbia, customs entries include international visitors who cross Canada Customs in British Columbia. These figures do not account for all visitors to British Columbia since domestic visitors are excluded as well as international visitors who cross Canada Customs outside British Columbia yet still travel to British Columbia. Likewise, customs entries include visitors that cross Canada Customs in British Columbia, but who continue on to other provinces.

Destination Management Company (DMC)

Company or professional individual engaged in organizing meetings of all types and their related activities. Also known as Professional Congress Organizer (PCO).

Destination Maketing Organization (DMO)

Sometimes called Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB) or Tourism Boards, DMO’s promote the long term development and marketing of a destination, focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing and service.

Destination Management Organization (DMO)

The organization responsible for providing the insight and leadership necessary to envisage and bring policies and plans into reality.

Destination Management System (DMS)

Also referred to as destination databases, visitor information systems, and marketing systems. Destination Management Systems (DMS) enable Destination Marketing Organizations to coordinate their operations and promote their products. DMS’s aim to provide complete and up-to-date information on a particular destination.

Domestic Tourist

A person travelling in the country in which he or she resides. Ecotourism Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.

Highway Traffic Volumes

A basic element of traffic data. Volume is the aggregation of traffic-count data from one or more counters that describes the volume of traffic that has passed a known point or cross section of the roadway during a defined time. The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation constantly monitors changing traffic patterns in locations around the province to improve roadway planning. This information is specifically tailored for road building and planning.

Hotel Occupancy Rate

The percentage of hotel rooms occupied during a specific time period, omitting rooms not available for due to renovations or otherwise unavailable.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

A privately run international organization whose principle function is to facilitate the movement of person and goods from and to any point on the world air network by any combination of routes.

International Travel Survey (ITS)

The International Travel Survey (ITS) provides a full range of statistics on the volume of international travellers and detailed characteristics of their trips. The objective of the ITS is to gather information on international travel and tourism, and more specifically to gather information on trip purpose, trip duration, activities, places visited, accommodation used and expenditures of international travellers. This information helps governments, municipalities, agencies and the tourism industry develop policies, products and services that correspond to travellers' needs as well as measure the contribution of international tourism to the Canadian economy. The International Travel Survey is comprised of two components:

  1. Administrative data collected by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
  2. Questionnaire surveys data
Kootenay Rockies (KR)

One of the six tourism regions designated by Destination British Columbia, the Kootenay Rockies is a vast wilderness of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, mineral hot springs, alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains. This area is also home to wonderfully restored heritage towns, thriving arts communities and gold rush boomtowns.

Northern British Columbia (NBC)

One of the six tourism regions designated by Destination British Columbia, Northern British Columbia's vast wilderness comprises more than half the province - approximately 500,000 sq km (193,051 sq mi). It is larger than California or Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdom. Northern British Columbia is a land of unlimited adventure that extends 1,000km (621mi) from east to west, following the legendary Yellowhead Highway. It is filled with jagged mountain peaks, roaring rivers, serene lakes, green valleys, rugged coastlines and ancient island archipelagos.

Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver comprises 22 member municipalities and one electoral area. Through Metro Vancouver, each member municipality has a say in how the region is run. Four separate corporate entities operate under the name Metro Vancouver: Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), Greater Vancouver Sewage and Drainage District (GVSDD), Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD), and Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC). The GVRD, GVWD and GVSDD Boards of Directors comprise mayors and councillors from the member municipalities on a “representation by population” basis.

Open Skies

An agreement between two or more nations that allows air carriers to fly unrestricted within each other's borders.

Overnight stay

Travel of one or more nights includes travellers staying in a country other than in which they reside.

Passenger Volume

The monthly and year-to-date passengers reported by airports [or other transportation hubs]. At the Vancouver International Airport, this includes all passengers handled at terminals, whether revenue or non-revenue. Non revenue passengers include those travelling on frequent flyer bonuses, airline employee travel, etc.

Percent Change

Change (variance) between two percentages (also referred to as percentage point change).

Recreational Vehicle (RV)

A motorized or towable vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living accommodations for travel, recreation and camping.

Revenue per Available Room (RevPar)

A metric, expressed as a ratio, used in the hospitality industry to measure the financial performance of a hotel or similar accommodation. The figure is arrived at by dividing the total sum of income from room rentals during a specified period, after discounts, and exclusive of taxes, meals, and other additional charges, by the number of rooms available for rent during that period.

Same Day Trips

Same-day travel encompasses travellers who enter and leave a country in less than 24 hours.

Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism aims to enhance the quality and sustainability of natural and cultural heritage-based experiences by: Minimizing the tourism industry's negative economic, environmental and socio-cultural impacts Generating greater economic benefits for local communities Making positive contributions to the preservation of natural and cultural assets Sustainable tourism delivers a meaningful experience and thus a high degree of customer satisfaction A sustainable tourism business fulfills economic, environmental and socio-cultural obligations while generating income, contributing to employment, maintaining cultural integrity, and preserving essential ecological processes and biological diversity.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is committed to promoting the principles of ecotourism and responsible travel. With the goal of uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel, TIES serves its members in over 90 countries, as the global source of knowledge and advocacy in ecotourism.

Thompson Okanagan (TO)

One of the six tourism regions designated by Destination British Columbia, this area is famous for its orchards, vineyards, skiing, golf, deserts, and mountains. The history and culture of the Thompson Okanagan region (population: 461,858) is strongly tied to the land. Aboriginal peoples led a semi-nomadic life moving between hunting and fishing grounds in the summers and settling into pit houses for the winter. Europeans came at first to trade for furs and then to establish cattle ranches, farms and mining operations. The region is full of museums and heritage sites that bring this colourful past to life for visitors.

Tourism (WTO Definition)

According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), tourism comprises the activities of persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes. The term usual environment is intended to exclude trips within the area of usual residence, frequent and regular trips between the domicile and the workplace, and other community trips of routine character.

Destination British Columbia (DBC)

Destination British Columbia (DBC) is responsible for marketing the Super, Natural British Columbia® brand to the world. Since becoming a Crown corporation in June 1997, DBC's mandate has been to promote development and growth in the tourism industry, to increase revenues and employment throughout British Columbia, and to increase the economic benefits for all British Columbians. DBC works closely with British Columbia's tourism industry to promote and develop tourism throughout the province and to ensure the continued long-term growth and prosperity of BC's $9.8 billion industry.

Tourism Demand

Tourism Demand is defined as the spending of Canadian and non-resident visitors on domestically produced commodities. It is the sum of tourism domestic demand and tourism exports.

Tourism Exports

Tourism Exports is spending by foreign visitors on Canadian-produced goods and services. It includes spending that may take place outside of Canada, for instance, the purchase of an airline ticket from a Canadian international carrier, to travel to Canada.

Tourism Industry Conference (TIC)

The British Columbia Tourism Industry is the only province wide conference which brings together the many sectors from accommodation, transportation, resorts, attractions, tourism associations, industry suppliers, and educators. The conference unities the industry, updates participation on the latest advance and recognizes outstanding contributions to tourism. It is held annually in locations around British Columbia.

Travel Activities and Motivation Study (TAMS)

Travel Activities and Motivation Study (TAMS) examines recreational activities and travel habits of Canadians and Americans. TAMS provides detail information on travellers' activities, travel motivations, places visited, type of accommodation used, impressions of Canada, its provinces, and territories, demographics, media consumption patterns, and helps identify existing and potential travel markets in North America.

Travel Receipts

Travel receipts are the expenditures in Canada by international travelers, including foreign crew. Among these would be expenditures for lodging, food, entertainment, local transportation, gifts, medical care, student expenses and all other purchase of personal goods and services.

Travel Survey of Residents of Canada (TSRC)

The Travel Survey of Residents of Canada (TSRC) is a major source of data used to measure the size and status of Canada's tourism industry. It was developed to measure the volume, the characteristics and the economic impact of domestic travel. Since the beginning of 2005 this survey replaces the Canadian Travel Survey (CTS). The TSRC is sponsored by Statistics Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission, the provincial governments and two federal organizations. It measures the size of domestic travel in Canada from the demand side. The objectives of the survey are to provide information about the volume of trips and expenditures for Canadian residents by trip origin, destination, duration, type of accommodation used, trip reason, mode of travel, etc.; to provide information on travel incidence and to provide the socio-demographic profile of travellers and non-travellers. Estimates allow quarterly analysis at the national, provincial and tourism region level (with varying degrees of precision) on:

  • total volume of same-day and overnight trips taken by the residents of Canada with destinations in Canada
  • same-day and overnight visits in Canada
  • main purpose of the trip/key activities on trip
  • spending on same-day and overnight trips taken in Canada by Canadian residents in total and by category of expenditure
  • modes of transportation (main/other) used on the trip
  • person-visits, household-visits, spending in total and by expense category for each location visited in Canada
  • person- and party-nights spent in each location visited in Canada, in total and by type of accommodation used
  • use of travel packages and associated spending and use of motor coach/other guided tours
  • source of payment (household, government, private employer)
  • demographics of adults that took or did not take trips travel party composition

The main users of the TSRC data are Statistics Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission, the provinces, and tourism boards. Other users include the media, businesses, consultants and researchers.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Vancouver International Airport, also known as YVR, is Canada’s second busiest airport. In 2007, YVR welcomed 17.5 million passengers, was the gateway for 226,234 tonnes of cargo, and had 274,410 runway takeoffs and landings. The Airport Authority assumed the management and operation of YVR from Transport Canada in 1992. It is operated under the provisions of a long-term lease with the Government of Canada and has no shareholders. All excess of revenue over expenditures is re-invested in airport developments and service improvements.

Vancouver Island (VI)

One of the six tourism regions designated by Destination British Columbia, the Vancouver Island region is a large, sparsely populated area, encompassing Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands as well as a portion of the mainland. It has one of the world's most diverse ecosystems: rainforests, marshes, meadows, beaches, mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes create habitats for multitudes of wildlife species. In fact, the region is one of the world's premier locations for golf, whale watching, birding, as well as salmon and trout fishing.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains (VCM)

One of the six tourism regions designated by Destination British Columbia, this region boasts mountains, oceans, lakes, rivers and beached in breathtaking abundance and beauty. The spectacular setting provides the venue for a vast array of outdoor adventures – cycle, hike, camp, kayak, sail, golf, ski and snowboard. Always a favoured destination for sophisticated travellers, the climate in Vancouver is mild and temperate, but the region's mountains are equally renowned for their epic snowfalls.

Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR)

Visiting friends and relatives is a term used to describe a category of traveller who can be either discretionary or non discretionary and whose main trip purpose is to visit friends and relatives.

Visitor Centre (VC)

British Columbia's Visitor Centres (VC) are members of the Visitor Centres Network and are available to provide tourists with tourist information, assistance and advice.

Identified by their distinctive, blue-and-yellow logo, these VC provide a wide range of visitor services, including professional visitor counselling, helpful travel information and literature, and accommodation reservations. Visitor Centres specialize in community information and provincial itinerary planning and their service is friendly and personalized.

To complement the Visitor Centre Network, many small communities operate seasonal tourist information booths. These operations do not sport the Visitor Centre logo. Local community information can be obtained during regular business hours throughout the summer.


A seamlessly integrated combination of voluntary service to a destination and the best, traditional elements of travel, arts, culture, geography, and history in that destination.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initative (WHTI)

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a U.S. law that requires all travellers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport or other approved secure document when entering the United States from within the western hemisphere. The U.S. WHTI is being implemented in stages by mode of transportation.